Neoliberalism, Globalization, and the Ecological Crisis
A Symposium organized by the Institute of Environmental Studies and Research
Lebanese American University
In collaboration with the European Cultural Center
September 29, 2021 at 4:00 PM Beirut Time
The collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990’s ushered a new political and economic era, marked by the triumphant emergence of Neoliberalism and the globalized capitalist world order. Some thirty years after this major turning point, it is clear that this new world order has led to the breakdown of the foundational elements of the socio-political order in nation-states, with disastrous consequences as evidenced by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Many critics have associated the Neoliberal policies across the globe with the increasing challenges posed on the environment, and the prognostics of an ecological disaster on the horizon.
In this symposium we propose to examine the consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization and its environmental impacts by addressing the following questions:
- What role does architecture, in general, and urban planning policies in particular, play in exacerbating or mitigating the environmental imbalances? What role do ‘new cities’ that have emerged on the global map represent in this context, with their ‘alternative’ realities?
- What kind of impact will the environmental destruction have on the constitution and the identity of the city with the projected population displacements and forced migrations that are expected?
- Will the information revolution hold the key to face the environmental challenge, or would any attempt to redress the situation fail under the current economic and political orders? What role does information technology play in this respect, and should we uncritically espouse its ‘progressive’ achievements and innovations?
- In what way should we revisit the relation between nature and human in conjunction with the relation of human to human that would enable us to rethink the idea of ‘human nature’, city and its architecture in the context of a sustainable environment?
This symposium will seek to address and debate these issues through a panel of invited critics and scholars in an interdisciplinary setting.
This symposium will be held as a virtual open event. It is a joint collaboration between the School of Architecture & Design at the Lebanese American University, and the European Cultural Center, and will be broadcast live during the activities of the ECC in Venice in September 2021.